According to credible reports received by Amnesty International, at least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed in the on-going protests across Iran sparked by a hike in fuel prices on November 15.
Information gathered from human rights activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crushlargely peaceful protests in more than 100 cities.
The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed. State media have reported only a handful of protester deaths, as well as the deaths of at least four members of the security forces.
Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons. Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.
“The authorities must end this brutal and deadly crackdown immediately and show respect for human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Top government officials including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have issued statements describing protesters as “villains” and giving security forces a green light to crush demonstrations.
Under international law, security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent threat of death or serious injury.
Amnesty International is also calling on the Iranian authorities to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through lifting the near-total block on internet access designed to restrict the flow of information about the crackdown to the outside world.
Hundreds of demonstrators blocked roads, using their parked cars as a form of protest. Verified video footage reviewed by Amnesty International shows riot police smashing windows of cars with drivers still inside.
According to eyewitness accounts corroborated by video footage reviewed by Amnesty International, snipers have also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in one case, a helicopter.
While most of the demonstrations appear to have been peaceful, in some instances, as the crackdown by security forces escalated, a small number of protesters turned to stone-throwing and acts of arson and damage to banks and seminaries.
“Violence by a few individuals does not justify a widespread reckless response,” said Philip Luther.
Several eyewitnesses have said that security forces have been taking away dead bodies and injured people from roads and hospitals. In a pattern consistent with past practices, intelligence and security forces have refused to return the bodies of many of the victims to their families or have forced families to bury their loved ones in a rushed manner and without an independent autopsy to establish the causes and circumstances surrounding the deaths.
State media reported that, as of 17 November, more than 1,000 protesters had been arrested since the protests began.
Below is a breakdown, by city and province, of the 106 deaths reported so far to Amnesty International. The organization obtained the information from reports whose credibility and reliability it has ascertained by interviewing journalists and human rights activists involved in gathering them. It has then crosschecked the information.
Abadan, Khuzestan province: 2
Ahvaz, Khuzestan province: 2
Bandar-e Mahshahr and its suburbs, Khuzestan province: 14
Behbahan, Khuzestan province: 8
Boukan, West Azerbaijan province: 4
Boumehen, Tehran province: 2
Esfahan, Esfahan province: 1
Islamshahr, Tehran province: 1
Javanroud, Kermanshah province: 14
Karaj, Alborz province: 4
Kermanshah, Kermanshah province: 16
Khoramshahr, Khorramshahr province: 3
Mariwan, Kurdistan province: 9
Ramhormoz, Khuzestan province: 6
Robatkarim, Tehran province: 4
Sadra, Fars province: 6
Sanandaj, Kurdistan province: 1
Shahriyar, Tehran Province: 1
Shiraz, Fars province: 6
Sirjan, Kerman province: 1
Tehran, Tehran province: 1
Amnesty International is working to verify further reports of killings of protesters throughout Iran. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)